I saw the film “Black Panther” on its opening weekend, and it wasn’t what I expected.
If you haven’t seen the movie, there will be lots of SPOILERS in these articles, so you might want to go read something else.
The main thing I’m going to discuss is the messaging in the film.
I have nothing to do with the creation of it, so I have no idea what the original intent was behind the script or the scene selections… Still, the movie speaks to quite a few extremely important issues that people rarely discuss publicly.
Let’s start with the technical aspects. I was completely immersed in the film the entire time, which is the goal of filmmaking or making music.
Having said that, people have had complaints about several of the computer-generated aspects of the movie.
That isn’t the part of video editing that I do. linkedin.com/in/BillCammack I’m a show editor. I take raw footage and make it make sense. Other people deal with 3D and rotoscoping and other elements which we call “sweetening”.
I make the show make sense. They make the show look pretty.
So I wasn’t paying much attention to the graphics. All I know is that when a spaceship took off or was flying over a city, I felt like I was seeing a spaceship taking off or flying over a city, which maintains immersion, which is what counts.
On top of that, as soon as you have a car that transforms into a house or an 80′ tall spider, you already know that what you’re looking at is fake, 😀 so I was paying way more attention to the storyline than the graphics.
If the graphics were poor at points, I’ll leave that explanation to someone who actually cares.
The plot itself was pretty basic. They did a couple of plot twists, but it was a simple concept.
As I mentioned before, I’m a video editor, so I don’t watch previews or any media at all about movies I plan to see.
This is because my memory is visual. If I see the lead character in a blue suit in a trailer, I know perfectly well that the lead character can’t die until I see him or her in that blue suit in that environment, so it ruins the ability of the film to create suspense for me until that occurs.
So I had no idea what the show was going to be about when I started watching it.
The idea is that there’s an area in Africa called Wakanda where a massive meteorite made up of the sound-absorbing element vibranium crashed, allowing the advancement of that particular culture.
The culture has remained hidden from the rest of the world by cloaking technology, but for some reason which wasn’t (and still isn’t) clear to me, they have “spies” all over the world.
T’Challa (Black Panther) enters Wakanda to have a physical contest to decide who becomes the next king.
This didn’t make any sense to me either, as in most stories, the prince automatically becomes the king, due to bloodline.
In fact, jumping to the end of the plot, THE ONLY REASON to strand T’Challa’s cousin, N’Jadaka (Killmonger) in Oakland, California, USA, is that he has a legitimate claim to the throne as he is a blood relative of the previous king.
Had they not done that, none of the movie would have occurred.
Because he was stranded in a caustic, non-nurturing environment *AND* without his father, who appears to have been the only person raising him, **AND** because they left the father’s body in Oakland for the young boy to find and become enraged, all the rest of the film unfolded the way it did.
We’ll discuss that in another article.
In fact, I wasn’t clear at the beginning that we weren’t watching T’Challa, but instead a young version of T’Challa’s father (which is played in the film by the actual son of the actor who plays the king).
Plot-wise, this threw me off for maybe 1/3 of the film, because I thought Black Panther had killed his own brother and then for the rest of the film he was a pacifist, which didn’t make any sense.
Once they went to the flashback and we find out (*I* find out) that it was actually his father who killed his uncle, way more of the characters’ attitudes make sense.
IF, in fact, the way kings are decided in Wakanda is physical combat, T’Challa should have been doing NOTHING ELSE SINCE CHILDHOOD other than becoming the most lethal fighting machine possible.
This wasn’t the case.
He barely won his fight against M’Baku to become king and then immediately lost the fight with N’Jadaka, which created the question of whether one is loyal to the ruling family or one is loyal to the customs of one’s state.
We’ll get to that in a different article.
T’Challa is found, returned to health, and then he defeats N’Jadaka.
By the end of the film, T’Challa has changed his mind about sharing Wakanda’s technology with the rest of the world.
If any of that was actually important, you could say that “Black Panther” could be judged on the superficial plot line, whether the graphics were top-notch, and how much fighting there was.
As far as flow, the film was veeeery sloooowww in the beginning and then picked up the pace.
If you’re just looking at it along the lines of the plot, the story could have been told much more quickly.
If I tune in to a Kung Fu movie, I don’t really give a damn about the dialogue. I want to see as much of Ma Fu Yi against Alexander Fu Sheng as I possibly can.
As a filmmaker, none of the graphics stopped me from believing what I was seeing… “believing” insofar as you’re watching aliens fly around in spaceships! 😀
I’m concerned with story arc, immersion, messaging, & continuity.
The most important element of “Black Panther” is its messaging and the questions it asks you which you have to answer for yourself.